A 30-point third quarter enabled Archbold to get over the hump and prevail over Delta in NWOAL boys basketball on Friday, 71-56, to send the three Blue Streak seniors off with a win on senior night.
“Those kids have been great,” said Archbold’s veteran mentor Doug Krauss. “Mike (Weigand) has done a nice job for us. He’s so athletic.
“Derek (Walker) and Benny (Gomez) have just been really solid for us. Benny maybe hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time overall, but I tell you what, he brings it to the table every day in practice and he’s a great team player. And Derek likewise.”
The win also kept the Blue Streaks undefeated in the NWOAL and alone atop the league standings.
Delta was in control for much of the first half, beginning with a pair of free throws each for Noah Parsons and Evan Vasquez and Tim Sonick’s three around Mike Weigand’s bucket for Archbold made it 7-2 not even three minutes in.
However, the Streaks were able to get within two after a pair of Eli Miller triples around three points by Parsons. Miller hit four threes on the night while on his way to leading all scorers with 22 points.
“We’ve been waiting for that Eli (Miller),” said Krauss. “It’s just confidence with him. He can shoot it. Hopefully this is a breakout night for him.”
Both squads then traded baskets, but Delta’s Bowen Green scored inside to again extend their lead to four. However, Toby Walker’s bucket on a drive to the hoop for Archbold at the first quarter horn made it 14-12 after one.
The Streaks tied the game at 14 on Caleb Wooley’s basket in the paint and then took the lead after one of two free throws by Austin Welch in the early minutes of quarter number two. Delta went back on top with a pair from the foul line for Vasquez, but another hoop by Wooley made it 17-16 Streaks at the 6:12 mark.
Four points from Parsons, three more from Vasquez and a bucket for Green helped the Panthers to a 25-22 advantage at the break.
“I knew it would be a good challenge for us,” stated Krauss. “Because Delta can create and can shoot the ball a little bit. Well a lot actually. And the first half didn’t surprise me.
“The positive side was, we just missed so many shots. I thought if we just keep on (shooting) the shots are going to fall and we’re gonna be fine.”
For Delta, fouls on key players in the first half and into the second altered their aggressive mindset after the break.
“Foul trouble on some of our players, specifically Evan Vasquez and Timmy Sonick, definitely played a part in the way we were forced to play the second half,” stated Delta interim coach Jeremy Lohman. “But take nothing away from Archbold, they came out in the second half and attacked the rim aggressively.”
It was not until midway through the third period that the Streaks finally took control.
After Parsons broke a tie at 33 with a midrange jumper, Archbold’s Kaiden Bedsole retied the score with a bucket. Welch handed his team the lead with a basket inside, while a bucket on a drive by Weigand forced a timeout by Delta.
Vasquez got to the foul line and split a pair out of the stoppage, however, four straight points by Welch put the Blue Streak advantage at 43-36 with 2:40 remaining in the third.
The difference remained seven after Parsons pegged a three for the Panthers, Weigand answered with a pair from the line, Marc Callahan got a bucket for Delta, and Toby Walker nailed a three for Archbold. Miller then scored with exactly a minute left in the third, and after he was fouled with two ticks left, his two free throws made it 52-41 after three.
“That’s not bad,” joked Krauss of his squad’s 30 third quarter points. “Especially when we only scored how much in the first half alone.”
“Their guards are lights out shooters if you allow them to get in rhythm,” added Lohman. “We did a good job in the first half of forcing them off their spots. In the second half our guards being in foul trouble forced them to play defense a little more conservatively and ultimately it hurt us in the end.”
Delta pulled within six after Vasquez’ three-point play and two free throws for Sonick began the final frame. However, threes by Miller and Bryce Williams bumped the difference to 58-46 at the 6:30 mark and Archbold remained in control from there.
Williams and Weigand both chipped in with 10 points for the Streaks. Parsons had 19 and Vasquez 16 for Delta.
Archbold is now 10-6 overall and 5-0 in the league after they were defeated at Defiance on Saturday, 59-53. Delta dropped to 4-11 overall and 0-5 in league play.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010